PLO: Pompeo can't resurrect Trump administration with settler winery visit

If Pompeo goes ahead with his plans, he would be the first US secretary of state and the highest US ranking official to visit a West Bank settlement or the Golan Heights.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh  in Ramallah. August 25, 2020 (photo credit: ALAA BADARNEH/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah. August 25, 2020
(photo credit: ALAA BADARNEH/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Palestinians warned that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plan to visit Israeli-held areas in the West Bank sets a dangerous precedent and accused him of seeking future electoral American votes at their expense.

“Listen very carefully @SecPompeo: There is no second term for Trump, the American people. There is no second coming for you in Palestine, the Palestinian people. There is no second chance for war criminals, @IntlCrimCourt," PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi tweeted.
“Now take your passionate intensity [and] slouch back home!” she wrote on Friday.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh also condemned Pompeo’s move.
“We deplore US Sec. of State Mike Pompeo’s intent to visit the illegal settlement of Psagot, built on lands belonging to Palestinian owners in El-Bireh city, during his visit to Israel next week. This dangerous precedent legalizes settlements [and is] a blow to [international] legitimacy [and] UN [resolutions].”
Political pundits have speculated that the Pompeo visit is one of the opening salvos for a potential White House run in 2024.
The US Embassy in Israel and State Department officials have neither confirmed nor denied the report of a West Bank visit published on the Hebrew news site Walla and on the English website Axios over the weekend.
Pompeo is expected to visit the Psagot Winery in the Binyamin region of the 
West Bank and Jesus’s baptismal site in the Jordan Valley, as well as the Golan Heights during his visit to Israel later this week, according to the media reports. The Jerusalem Post has learned that Pompeo is indeed weighing a visit to the winery.

If Pompeo goes ahead with his plans, he would be the first US secretary of state and the highest US ranking official to visit a West Bank settlement or the Golan Heights.
Pompeo’s visit comes in the last months of the Trump Administration, which had unveiled a plan to allow Israel to annex up to 30% of the West Bank, then suspending that plan in exchange for Israeli-Arab normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The Trump administration had hoped the normalization deals would pressure the Palestinians to return to the negotiation table, under its peace plan.
The Palestinians had rejected that deal and US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to scrap the Trump plan all together once he enters the White House in January. Pompeo’s visit to the Psagot Winery is therefore one of the last steps he can take to legitimize Israeli settlement activity.
It is a symbolic gesture that speaks to his support for eventual Israeli sovereignty of all the settlements. It is particularly significant that Pompeo has chosen the Psagot Winery, which lost a case before the European Union’s top court on the issue of product labeling.
The winery already has a vintage name for Pompeo in appreciation for his role in the 2019 US declaration that West Bank settlements are not inconsistent with international law.
Pompeo’s Golan Heights visit also underscores the Trump administration’s commitment to Israel’s retention of that area. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in 1967 and formally annexed it in 1981. The Trump administration has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi publicly called on the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiation table, during a joint press conference with his visiting Bulgarian counterpart Ekaterina Zaharieva on Thursday.
“I once again call on the Palestinian leadership to take advantage of this historic window of opportunity in the Middle East and immediately return to negotiation with Israel with no preconditions. We need to do this for the region and the future of all of our children,” he said.
He noted that Zaharieva was due to visit Ramallah on Friday and asked her to use that opportunity to help open a new vista of opportunity with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been frozen since 2014.
In Ramallah, Zaharieva spoke with PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki about the importance of negotiations with Israel toward a two-state resolution to the conflict.